National Stalking Awareness Day – Have You Been Affected?

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April 24th is National Stalking Awareness day, and this year the campaign is concentrating on how stalking can affect you in the workplace. Getting support from your employer is not only beneficial for them, but for you too, as most of us spend the majority of the week at work.

Stalking Is a Crime

Stalking can be defined as 'repeated, unwanted contact from one person to another'. Stalking includes harassment but adds the element of a credible threat being intended by the person doing the stalking. Because of the similarities between stalking and harassment, stalking was made a stand-alone crime in the UK, not least to reflect the damaging effects of this kind of behaviour.

Although the Home Office only makes reference to stalking involving women, as statistics show they are disproportionately affected. This by no means dismisses the fact that men are also affected by stalking and need appropriate support.

Approximately 42% of people who contact the National Stalking Helpline complain about being stalked by someone they know or have had an intimate relationship with. Often, stalking goes hand in hand with domestic abuse but in some cases, the stalker may be someone you work with.

National Stalking Awareness day 2014

Stalking and the Workplace

Stalkers may be colleagues, clients or other individuals who are unrelated to your workplace but choose to make contact with you while you are at work.

Some examples of stalking behaviour include:
  • Nuisance calls
  • Being followed
  • Computer hacking
  • Abuse through social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter
Working to minimise the risk to members of staff and dealing with the behaviour of stalking in an appropriate and safe way not only helps you as the employee but also your employer. By law, your employer has an obligation to ensure your safety at work, therefore by having an effective policy to deal with stalking, employers will be safeguarding their employees' welfare in line with the law.

Half of those who are stalked either limit or cease to work as a result so it is in your employer's best interests, in terms of productivity and staff retention, to address the issue. Any policies introduced should have an employee-centred focus and concentrate on providing any extra support needed to reduce the negative impact of stalking on the affected employee.

If you are being stalked at work you can raise this with your union rep (if you have one). Union reps are specifically trained to deal with these issues. Your union may also provide free legal advice and assistance to deal with a stalker.

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